Summer Lawn Care Information:
It can get pretty hot in the summer throughout Virginia. While the sunlight is certainly a good thing for your grass, you’ll need to take extra care of your lawn to ensure it remains healthy over the course of the hotter days of the season.
Special care is needed, not only because of the rise in temperatures, but also because those hotter temperatures are often accompanied by summer droughts. Not to mention that the lawn experiences a lot more use during the summer when kids play in the grass and adults tend to hold afternoon barbecues.
The following is a guide on how to take care of your lawn throughout the summer to ensure that it stays healthy.
The Consequences of Ignoring Your Lawn
There are two main types of grass that people generally use for their lawns. These types are cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, fescue and rye, and warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, Centipede and St. Augustine.
Cool-season grasses grow best when temperatures are in the 60s (degrees Fahrenheit), while warm-season grasses grow best in the 70s.
As you know, it gets much hotter than that during summer in Virginia. That heat will cause growth to slow down and colors to fade, often causing the grass to turn brownish and brittle.
Your grass will become weaker, making it more difficult for it to recover if it experiences any stress, such as when it’s cut or when people walk over it. Your grass may even die out if it doesn’t get the water it needs.
Ignoring your lawn like this during the summer can lead to a lot of damage that will hurt the visual appearance of your grass. This, in turn, can diminish your property’s curb appeal, something that’s particularly important if you plan on selling your home at some point. To avoid this, make sure you give your lawn the attention it needs.
Taking Care of Your Lawn in the Summer
There are five areas of lawn care that you should focus on during the summer. These include watering, mowing, fertilizing, controlling weeds and protecting against insects and disease. While all five of these areas of lawn care are important throughout the year, they differ during the summers because of the specific challenges that summer weather brings.
1. Watering Your Lawn in the Summers
Because there’s more risk of drought during the summer, you need to pay careful attention to the condition your grass is in. During periods of drought, you’ll need to water more.
However, make sure when you do water your lawn that you water deeply. Making sure that your grass gets at least an inch of water once a week is better than topically watering your lawn four or five times a week.
When you water your grass deeply, you encourage the roots to become more drought-tolerant. If you notice that your grass is losing its color and becoming more brittle, it means you need to water more frequently.
Last but not least, make sure that you water early on in the day. This gives the water time to seep down into the soil, to the roots of your grass. If you water during the middle of the day, a lot of the water is likely to be evaporated by the sun, which means the roots of your lawn won’t get as much water as it needs. Watering at night is generally a bad idea as well because the water may stick to the blades of grass without evaporating, causing fungal growth overnight.
2. Mowing Your Lawn in the Summers
If you have cool-season grass, keep it at roughly three to four inches tall during the summer. If you have warm-season grass, keep it at around two to three inches tall. Usually, you’ll want to mow your grass shorter than this during the other times of the year.
You should keep your grass taller during the summer in order to:
- Shade the soil and help prevent weeds from growing
- Make the grass more drought-tolerant
- Allow the grass to grow deeper roots
You’ll want to mow the grass frequently. You should never cut more than one-third of the grass blade at a time. Mowing it more than that can affect its health.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep the clippings where they fall to help promote your lawn’s health. If the clippings are too long, they could end up smothering the grass instead of helping it grow.
Before you begin mowing your grass, be sure to check the sharpness of the blades. Dull blades can cause serious damage to your grass by tearing it instead of cutting it cleanly. This will help minimize the amount of stress your lawn experiences during hotter days.
3. Fertilizing Your Lawn in the Summers
Fertilizing is a little tricky during the summer season. If you have cool-season grass, then you should avoid fertilizing altogether during the summer. The grass clippings that you leave out after you mow should provide the lawn with enough nutrients.
However, warm-season grass will need some fertilizer. Consider using natural, slow-release organic fertilizers that won’t burn your lawn. You should also avoid fertilizing at the peak of summer since this can burn your grass and cause the growth of brand new grass, which will struggle to flourish in the summer heat.
4. Pulling Weeds
Weeds tend to be a big problem during the summer, especially if you’re cutting your grass too low. Remove growing weeds as soon as you spot them or they will bloom and spread seeds, causing even more weed growth in the next year.
If you are going to apply herbicide to kill off any weed presence, be very careful as to when you use it. If it’s too hot out, it could cause damage to grass that’s already stressed from the heat. If you’re able to, pull them by hand instead.
5. Protecting Your Lawn Against Insects and Diseases
Summer lawns that grow dormant or become stressed by drought tend to be more vulnerable to insect infestations and diseases. Keep an eye out for potential insect problems and fungal diseases by visually inspecting your grass regularly for damage. You may need to apply fungicide if you spot any diseased grass blades. Additionally, if you start having any problems with grubs, then apply grub control around midsummer.
Following the tips outlined in these five areas of lawn care will help to ensure that your grass continues to grow in a healthy and visually vibrant manner throughout the summer season.
If you are in need of professional lawn care this summer, then be sure to contact us at Virginia Green Lawn Care for a free estimate today.